Costa Rica: New System for State Purchases

In a "Solomonic" decision, the Ministry of Finance has decided to settle the dispute between CompraRed and Merlink, ordering the development of a new platform, giving the moribund state telecom company RACSA something to do.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


With the introduction of the yet to be developed Integrated Public Procurement System (SICOP by its initials in Spanish), an end could be given to the bitter struggle between different groups of state officials and private providers over "their" respective public procurement systems.

In the end what matters is that once and for all the Costa Rican government as a whole, makes its purchases of goods and services using a single platform, which we hope will be fully digital. In this way they will save many millions of dollars through greater efficiency in public procurement and make decision making by managers of state funds more transparent, benefiting most of the suppliers and the economy in general.

From a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance of Costa Rica:

An Integrated Public Procurement System (SICOP) has been presented as a new platform by which the institutions of central government must make their purchases of goods and services.

The creation of SICOP is established in a decree signed by the heads of the Treasury and the MICITT, and through which it is reaffirmed that the Ministry of Finance will be the rector on public purchases of central government, responsible for defining technical requirements which must be observed by the purchasing platform; the MICITT will be rector of policy of digital government and the ICE as the service provider through RACSA.

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More on this topic

Public Procurements in Costa Rica: Cosmetic Changes

November 2015

The government has announced the "unification of public procurements" when the only modification from the previous situation is the change of name and the logo for "Mer-Link" to "SICOP", while keeping the CompraRed system in operation.


The officially announced "new Integrated System for Public Procurement (SICOP)" by the Solis administration is the exact same Mer-Link which has been used up until now.

Costa Rica: Questions over Public Procurement Systems

January 2015

The Chamber of Commerce has asked the Ministry of Finance to clarify changes in the new public procurement platform.

From a statement issued by the Chamber of Commerce in Costa Rica:

The Ministry of Finance has not justified the reasons why RACSA was delegated the development and management of the platform.

Costa Rica: TWO Public Procurement Systems

July 2014

If transparency is to be achieved, there must be one single platform so that procurement processes can be fully digital and access to information fully transparent.


An article on reports that "... The head of Digital Government, Alicia Avendaño affirmed that there are concerns about the apparent lack of interest of current government institutions over migrating public procurements to the Mer-Link system, promoted by the previous government. "

Costa Rica Seeks to Unify State Purchases

April 2013

The struggle between the two main systems used for Costa Rican government purchases could end with Mer-Link being the winner.

From a press release issued by the President of Costa Rica:

In order to facilitate the establishment of a National System of Public Procurement, the president of the Republic, Laura Chinchilla Miranda, signed this morning a guideline for all the institutions which make up the Civil Service to unify their methods of procuring goods and services.